Hemorrhoids and Exercise. Ask The Proctologist.

Medically reviewed by: Gary H. Hoffman, MD

How Does Exercise Affect My Hemorrhoids?  Ask The Proctologist.

Hemorrhoids and Exercise. Ask The Proctologist.Hemorrhoids.  Fifty percent of adults in the United States have them.  Hemorrhoids can exist in an asymptomatic form and cause no symptoms.  Or, they can be troublesome, sometimes debilitating, and ruin even the most beautiful day.  Many of us love to exercise.  Many of us have hemorrhoids. Will exercise or working out aggravate the hemorrhoids?

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What are hemorrhoids, and what about the rumor that exercise can worsen hemorrhoids, especially during an acute episode?  A proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon, will be able to answer this, and other questions about hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids.  Present At Birth.

Hemorrhoids are collections of arteries, veins, nerves and connective tissue.  The veins, like any veins in the body, return blood to the heart.

Hemorrhoids are present at birth as a normal part of our anatomy.  They serve to cushion the anal area during defecation (bowel movements) and they provide support to the anal canal.  Essentially, they act as bumpers.  So, simply having hemorrhoids is not necessarily a bad thing.  The problems arise when the hemorrhoids enlarge and begin to cause symptoms.

Nobody is sure as to why hemorrhoids begin to grow and become troublesome.  Many theories abound.

Why Do Hemorrhoids Become A Problem?

  • Genetics
  • Heredity
  • Gravity
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Sitting too long on the toilet.
  • Pregnancy
  • Eating the “wrong foods”
  • Heavy exercise.
  • Diet (lack of fiber).
  • Constipation or diarrhea.
  • Obesity
  • Anal lumps
  • Many other possible causes.

No matter the true cause, hemorrhoids may be asymptomatic, or may cause rectal bleeding, pain, protrusion (prolapse), itching or a rectal discharge, among other symptoms.  Importantly, all of these symptoms can be caused by other diseases such as cancer or inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.  It is important that you speak with and see a proctologist to obtain a diagnosis and begin treatment if necessary.

I Love Exercise.  Will Exercise Hurt My Hemorrhoids?

But what about exercise?  Can exercise, especially during  bout of hemorrhoidal symptoms,  worsen the hemorrhoids?  Can exercise actually cause hemorrhoids to become symptomatic?

In general, answers to these questions are No and No.  Exercise is not necessarily the enemy of hemorrhoids.  However, as veins return blood to the heart, any increased blood flow to a vein, may place an increased demand on that vein, causing it to swell and worsen any symptoms.  During exercise, our heart pumps an increased amount of blood to the pelvis.  More oxygen is delivered to these working muscles and the hemorrhoidal veins work overtime to return that blood to the heart.  If the veins are already enlarged due to hemorrhoidal disease from any cause, this increased blood flow will intensify your symptoms.  In other words, exercise may make already existing disease feel worse.  If you have a thrombotic hemorrhoid (a blood clot in a hemorrhoidal vein), the increased blood flow during exercise may make the thrombosed hemorrhoid begin to throb.  However, in general, hemorrhoids are not caused by or worsened by exercise.  Symptoms may be increased however.  There is no reason to stop exercising during hemorrhoidal episodes, unless any pain or bleeding become too intense.  Otherwise, work away.

Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates.

In Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, there many surgeons available to help you with your hemorrhoid questions or symptoms.  At Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates, board certified surgeons are available to listen and help.  A phone call starts the process and then help may be on the way.  (310)273-2310

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